Large Field Array is the magnum opus of Keith Tyson’s vital and intriguing practice, shown for the very first time in its entirety in a purpose built exhibition space on the island of Sarvisalo, Finland.
Large Field Array is named after the Very Large Array, a field of Radio Telescopes in New Mexico. Very Large Array focuses on one spot from multiple viewpoints to give us a clearer picture of the universe. Similarly, Tyson’s monumental work combines over 300 separate sculptural forms into a single Field Array which Tyson claims operates as a gigantic experiential lens for viewing some of the invisible and fundamental forces that make up our reality.
The individual elements that make up Large Field Array all take a 60cm cube as their base form. These are arranged at meter intervals in a roughly cubic formation on the floor and walls of the Art Barn. Their style ranges from hyper-real illusionistic sculpture through to residues of physical processes. Each sculpture is in some way connected with all the other works within the field, and these connections are very diverse whether visual, psychological, causal, philosophical, physical or conceptual. The viewer is the defining force in the field, tracing these myriad connections. The units that make up the work form a tool for looking at the world that allows the viewer to experience the nature of reality that they is infinite and boundless, yet connected and integrated. The work investigates both the myth of individuality, and the concept of the unique discrete artwork as it is both of these things at once. There is no possibility of an external perspective on the Array, the only way to experience it is from within, and therefore any experience of it by definition can only be partial. It is impossible to see in its entirety as its scale exceeds ones field of vision.
Tyson has calculated that it would have taken one person 160 years to make this work - that is two adult lifetimes. Therefore no one person could have ever made it and as such it is completely reliant on the personal, social, cultural, technological, scientific and economic conditions that allowed its production. Tyson has visited Sarvisalo several times in the past 10 years and the decision to house Large Field Array was made in 2014 - the location offering a radically different context for the work to be contemplated and enjoyed, far away from the hectic life of a city where distraction is a given. Here the work finds itself like a surreal landscape on the island, the building like a chocolate box of delights awaiting interpreation.
The Suvikunta Art Barn was completed in 2016 and took just under a year to complete. The purpose built exhibition space is the first of its kind on Sarvisalo and was designed by Siren Arkkitehdit Oy. It has a simple steel construction, clad with locally available Fir planks. In time this wood will age and soften back to a white colour in keeping with the traditional buildings in the region.